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Should the President send letters of condolence to families of servicemembers who commit suicide or die training in theater?

Yes. Most of those who commit suicide do so as a result of their combat experiences.
16% (286 votes)
Yes. But the policy should be extended to send letters to all servicemembers who die in uniform.
51% (934 votes)
No. Historically letters were sent to those who died in combat with enemy forces, and it should stay that way.
25% (462 votes)
No, because this policy only reinforces the notion that committing suicide is an honorable way to escape one's problems.
8% (143 votes)
Total votes: 1825

 

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d19thdoc

July 7, 2011 - 11:22pm

I researched all of the letters of condolence sent to next of kin for all the KIAs in my Vietnam unit - 105 in all over five years. Both Johnson and Nixon occasionally sent a LOC for non-combat deaths. I was not able to discover any pattern to explain the exceptions.

A LOC, like any funeral or memorial token or ceremony, is for the benefit of the survivors, not the deceased. The loved ones' loss is just as great regardless of the cause of death. If the soldier died while in service, the least the CIC can do is acknowledghe the survivors' loss and grief.

roughryder

July 9, 2011 - 6:57am

the service member no matter how he/she died joined the service for patriotic reason's and signed the old BLANK CHECK! roughryder

bsp

July 13, 2011 - 7:58pm

My brother who served his country in the late 60's in Vietnem committed suicide earlier this year. He was sick. If he had done this when he served would I look at his illness any less than someone who passed away?

airforce_1985

August 7, 2011 - 9:42am

I understand wanting the CIC to acknowledge the sacrifices made in service, but I think only the ultimate sacrifice should receive a LOC. Training in theater is just a part of being in the military. If your death is combat-related then the LOC should be issued. Soldiers may die in service for a variety of reasons. One airman I trained with died of a heart attack while running around a track on base. That sort of death may come to any and does not deserve a LOC in my opinion. If a LOC is issued in that case it diminishes its significance when issued to someone who dies in combat. Suicide, when a result of combat-related stress in-country, could be looked at on a case-by-case basis but I wonder if that, too, would seem a like a slap in the face to the families of those who died while serving since suicide could be perceived as a "failure to serve" when the soldier checks out that way. I don't know if suicide should be honored with a LOC, a hard question.

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